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A time for Reflection Me The early years RIP Titch

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As a Bolton town centre boy I first met my friend Tony ( Titch ) Briscoe when I was 13 yrs old ... In a nightclub called " Nocturn " which was situated in the basement of Bolton Palais ...

I had recently been given my first taste of going to an all nighter by Jimmy Muirhead and Fred Dicky Dickinson               Who had swapped my plain shoes for a pair of loafers and dressed me In a Ben Sherman , two tone trousers and dragged me off to this Manchester club that they referred to as " The Wheel "          Fred giving .me these great words of wisdom " Yes you can come .. but, .... if you get stopped your on your Own , so try to act older"

I already knew what " devils work " occurred . Having experienced my initiation to the dark side of the scene. a few months earlier by being driven around Moss Side in a transit van and being told " Count these dex into 1000 bags and you can eat all the broken ones "...!!

I had stolen my big sisters Blackpool Twisted Wheel membership card which I brandished as a badge of honour. as I entered this strange wonderful world full of dark shadows .and music

I was introduced to a lad I recognised from Bolton called JC .. I stood there gobsmacked as the music started and JC began to dance with smooth flowing footwork. And then I stood back as suddenly he began to spin ... In that instant I was hooked .!!! I knew.I would be a dancer ... !!

A few weeks later I had been practicing in my bedroom to the sound of my Dad shouting "What's going on ?" " sounds like your coming through the bloody ceiling". I Smiled. Because in my eyes I was the new Fred Astair Lol

It was Thursday night so having built up enough bottle I decided to go and strut my stuff down at the Nocturn ... So it was on with the two tones , and my brand new Jaytex shirt and a pair of Bostonian Double Soled Royals that I had mithered my mother to buy me ... Drowned myself in Brut aftershave that my eldest brother had given me ..., And off I strutted .. Lol

I met up with a couple of mates from school Gary Fogg and John Cavanagh and was just about to mesmerise them with my new found dance skills when I saw this small lad with blonde Curley hair and a big nose who was surrounded by girls start to dance .. He glided across the floor with a heel toe movement that I found hard to take my eyes off ... That was the moment that my bottle went ... I just sat down with my drink glad that I hadn't shown myself up next to this lad

The following night I was in town and was just about to go for my bus home when I heard a girl I knew shouting my name ...

Help me Brent will ya ?... It's Titch I think he's dying ! He took some Tuinal sleepers and he's unconscious ... I followed her and in a doorway I saw the crumpled figure of the good dancer from the night before ...

My father had taken Tuinal for years and I knew what they were like and how strong they were ... So when I asked her how many and she said about 5 or 6 I didn't hesitate I just picked him up and ran with him on my shoulders for about a mile to Bolton Royal infirmary ... Having told the nurse about him having Tuinal and watched with morbid curiosity as they pumped the lads stomach after which, I was asked to leave my details and go home ...

Next day was Saturday so I expected a lie in before I put on my Levi's and doc Martens ready for the match. About 10 o clock there was a knock on the door which my Mam answered .. Then she shouted " Brent. Are you up ? There someone for ya !

As I opened the door .. Titch was stood there all sheepish and said "Your Brent aren,t you ? " "They gave me yr details at the hospital" ." I called to say thanks ! " ... "Your all right mate " "I saw you at the Nocturn on Thursday "... I answered .. "Where did you learn to dance like that ? " He smiled and said " At the Crom and at the Palais on Sunday ".. " I'll. tell you what ! Do you fancy the Palais tomoz. And I will buy you a pint ...?? " " Do you know where the star and garter pub is ???? I'll meet you there about 7." ..

From that day we became firm friends ... And soul mates .... Together with Martyn Valentine we travelled miles up and down the country to all nighters .. Our friendship lasted right up to his death in 1999 ... A death that I still can't come to terms with ..

Today would have been Titchs 60th birthday so tonight I am going to raise a few glasses in his honour .. And play his favourite tune The Tomangoes and I swear that if I close my eyes I can still see his dance moves and his cheeky smile ... REST IN PEACE TITCH .. My mate .. B

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Practically every town in the UK has similar potent tales of friendship that bring a lump to your throat and/ or a tear to the eye thanks to the music we allowed into our hearts.   It's always good to remember those that are no longer with us, there by the grace of etc. etc. (somehow can't bring myself to finish that off because of my personal beliefs).

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